Agence France Presse : Victims of murder, torture and other abuses by Nigeria's former military government on Tuesday hailed a landmark out-of-court settlement with Royal Dutch Shell over its alleged complicity in the crimes. Shell agreed on Monday in New York to pay out 15.5 million dollars (10.7 million euros) to relatives of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others executed in 1995 in what plaintiffs said was a campaign of repression backed by the oil giant. The settlement brings to an end a long battle by the Nigerian victims and means that Shell avoids a potentially embarrassing court case while having to accept no actual wrongdoing.
Saro-Wiwa had led a non-violent campaign to protest environmental destruction and abuses against the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta before he was hanged along with other activists after his trial in a military court. "We welcome the 15.5 million dollars compensation for the illegal killings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other eight Ogoni leaders," Bariara Kpalap, spokesman for the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), told AFP.
But Kpalap insisted Shell must still address the issue of environmental pollution and change the way it does business in the oil-rich Niger Delta, where farmers and fishermen are being driven off.
For details of the case and the settlement click here.